In traditional Passover celebrations four questions are asked so that through the answers we may be reminded of the significance of this great formative event in the history of Israel.

But perhaps the most vital question that should be asked is: “How will the LORD pass over me to save me from judgement?”

At that first Passover God judged Pharaoh and all the Egyptians who stood in the way of His plan to deliver his people from their bondage. The LORD struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, but He passed over the Hebrews who had applied the blood of the Passover lamb to their doorposts in faithfulness and obedience to His word.

When it looked as though the Israelites would be destroyed in the desert at the hands the pursuing Egyptians, the God of Israel parted the sea so that the Israelites went through on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to pass through, the waters flowed back and Pharaoh’s entire army were drowned. That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians. The celebration of Passover reminds us of God’s mighty power to save his people.

However, there is something which most of us overlook. We forget that the entire generation that was delivered in such a miraculous way perished in the desert due to their unfaithfulness and unbelief, except for Joshua and Caleb! They proved themselves faithless because instead of trusting in God’s promise they longed for the worldly comforts of Egypt rather than for the place where God was leading them.

Those who want “freedom” just to satisfy their sinful desires are like that generation who, no sooner had they been miraculously liberated from slavery, began to grumble against Moses, God’s chosen prophet and redeemer. True freedom only comes to those who believe God’s word and who are prepared to surrender their lives to his will. To this day people say, “Next year in Jerusalem,” but, figuratively speaking, they prefer the comforts of Egypt.

For a people whose subsequent history is filled with suffering and persecution at the hands of hostile nations the celebration of this great deliverance so many thousands of years ago remains an expression of hope in a better life yet to come. If the LORD delivers us just so that we can live a few more years in this present world, what have we gained? But if the hope of deliverance is not just for this present life, what assurance do we have of a better life in the world to come?

Surely the deeper lesson of Passover involves our deliverance from the final judgement upon the ungodly and faithless who have refused to believe in God’s promise of redemption – prefigured by the destruction of the Egyptians at the time of Pharaoh. But even concerning Israel, the LORD said, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge”(Hosea 4:6).

Referring to the close of the age, the angel Gabriel said to Daniel, “Everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

How can we be assured that we will be among those raised to everlasting life rather than everlasting shame and contempt? The LORD said through the prophet Ezekiel (18:4), “The soul who sins is the one who will die.” But King Solomon rightly declared, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

The vital question to be asked at this time of Passover is: How shall the sinner escape judgement? Or, in other words, “How will the LORD pass over me?”

The answer remains the same as at the first Passover: “By faithfully applying the blood of the Passover lamb to your temporary earthly dwelling.”

But how do we apply the blood of the Passover lamb in this day and age?

Ancient Judaism was a religion of blood sacrifice. Sacrifices no longer play a part in Modern Judaism and most people would be repulsed by the idea of applying the blood of a lamb on the doorpost of their homes. The importance of the sacrifice of the lamb and the covering of the blood in their redemption from Egypt has been lost in the modern celebration. But this was essential to that first Passover and remains vital to our understanding of Passover.

“The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt” (Exodus 12:12-13).

The blood was a sign for the Israelites. It gave them the assurance of faith that the LORD would pass over them when he visited judgement upon Egypt.

The last prophet who spoke in Israel heralded the coming of the Messiah, pointing to Jesus and declaring, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Jesus, the Passover lamb, was sacrificed to make atonement (a covering) for our sins. When we put our faith in him we figuratively apply the blood of the Passover Lamb by faith and we have the assurance that through His Spirit we will be set free from our slavery to sin.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

In other words, Jesus gave us the assurance that the LORD will pass over us when he judges the world if we put our faith in him and his atoning blood. Anyone who failed to apply the blood as an act of faith would have been subject to the same judgement that came upon Egypt on that terrifying night.

In the same way Jesus said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:23-24).

For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves….But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself (Psalm 49:10;11;15).

“If only for this life we have hope in Messiah we are to be pitied more than all men.” Through the precious blood of the Passover Lamb we are redeemed and receive eternal life. Everyone who calls upon His Name will be saved.